View Full Version : Can someone please help with these symptoms??

20th December 2006, 08:26 PM
We only have George 3 weeks now and he is doing really well. We've begun to notice he is scratching around his neck and ears. He has a quick scratch and then he's fine again. No sooner had this started and he began sneezing which is now becoming more regular. Over the last few days he has been breathing strangely. I don't know if it's a cough as I have never heard a dog cough. My partner says it's more like hyperventilating. We spoke to the vet tonight and he's going for a check up on Friday. All these symptoms have occured fairly quickly and the breathing problem seems to be happening since we changed his food. He does it after eating and tonight he done it out walking (once when he pulled on his lead and once for no reason). Could it be an allergy or someting more serious? I'm worried sick about him and even though he's going on Friday I would appreciate any advice.


20th December 2006, 08:53 PM
i have only had a puppy for a few weeks so i am not very knowledgeable could it be the collar which is anoying him and making him scratch, or could he have ear mites. My puppy scratches occasionally put its just normal doggy behaviour (i hope).
I think sometimes you can read about so many illness's that you can look for the symptoms and then panic when it's just normal doggy behaviour. Could you contact your breeder after all they will know puppy's behaviour better than anyone. And they will know about cavaliers and can offer you some support i know that i ring my breeder when i worry about lady and she can offer advice.
If you are concerned especially with a cough i would try to get in to the vets asap or ring vet emergency line if they have one. At least if you talk to a vet over phone and explain all symtoms they may be able to reasure you and maybe get him to vets tomorrow am. It's so worrying when your pup's not usual self. Keep us posted on amy developments sending puppy kisses to george from lady. :flwr:

20th December 2006, 09:01 PM
Thanks for your input. George was a rescue dog so I know nothing of his background. I agree with what you're saying about reading too much into it but I just want to make sure the little fella is happy and healthy. The vet says it could be his heart/trachea problem/allergy. He'll get to see the vet on Friday but just worrying myself sick in the meantime!

Thanks again and LOVE the photo. So cute!!

20th December 2006, 09:04 PM
i can tell you want the best for him. I am sorry i can't offer any other advice i hope he's ok at vet check.

20th December 2006, 09:55 PM
How old is he? It is very unlikely to be his heart unless he is at least 2 or 3 and even then, that would be extremely unusual to be showing symptoms.

When he makes the breathing sound is it kind of like wheezing, then after a bit it stops? This may just be 'the cavalier snort', which is normal and often happens to some cavaliers. It is a result of their nose being extra short. All of mine do it now and then; some dogs do it a lot. Next time he does this, try gently tipping his head down towards his chest while you cover his nostrils with a finger. If it is the snort he'll likely stop right away and carry on without a bother. I know of people who have rushed dogs to the ER in the middle of the night having heard the snort and thinking the dog couldn't breathe. :) They can often do it after or even wghile eating -- Leo somteims does -- probably because of excitement and the position down and forward of their heads.

Sounds like he might have some allergies or could have picked up kennel cough and hence the sneezing. Dogs scratch for all sorts of reasons from ear mites to fleas to (in cavaliers) PSOM. When the scratching is particularly aggressive or odd it could be syringomyelia but that doesn;t sound like an SM scratch to me.

Rescues often have ear mites etc.

Regarding food allergies: don;t let the vets try to sell you Hills or another expensive diet to try. Just feed something like James Wellbeloved and get one of the non-poultry flavours (dogs tend to have more allergic reactions to chicken and beef, and to grains, than other things).

I am guessing the sneezing (and maybe the coughing) is just a mild cold or a bit of kennel cough and these are not allergies, and that he's just doing the cav snort. But do have him checked; I'd just be cautious to rush into treatments for what may only be some basic cavalier behaviour.

Pm me if you want to let me know where he came from and his background. If he was only recently into rescue then they often are a bit under the weather for a bit due to stress and the changes -- esp. if he was in a pound or rescue kennel.

21st December 2006, 12:14 AM
Thanks Karlin. We were told at the rescue that he's two and a half years old. I was so worried over the last day or 2 because I really thought it was the start of his heart problems. Hopefully you're right and this is not the case. It's more of a choking sound than a snort. I undestand that you can't diagnose him but do you think it could be a trachea problem? He pulls very strongly on his lead and he was choking tonight doing it. As soon as I rub him he seems to calm down and stop.

Just one more thing. I fed him some chopped up raw carrots yesterday with a very small bit of gravy as his poo was a bit soft. Is this ok and if so how often should I feed him carrots? He eats half Royal Canin in the morning and half in the evening. Should I mix a few carrots in with his dinner? Also I have given him a small piece of apple and banana in his Kong. Is there a limit to the amount of fruit I should give him?

Thanks again for the advice.

21st December 2006, 12:24 AM
The 'snort' sounds like a choking or gagging sound. I am pretty sure that is all it was. I'd strongly recommend getting a good harness for him, such as one of the Puppias,. Walking on a collar isn't the best for any dog that pulls but cavaliers have soft necks and their tracheas can be damaged, among other reasons for using a harness. You can get Puppias from the shop at www.dogtrainingireland.ie or pet-bliss.ie.

Two and a half would be very young to be coughing due to MVD -- that is one of the very advanced signs of congestive heart failure. Haven;t heard of any cavalier having that advanced stage at that age.

Cathy Moon
21st December 2006, 12:39 AM
If George is pulling on his collar, it could be contributing to the problem.

Harnesses are always a good idea for cavaliers. The Puppia harness is popular with many cavalier owners because it's made of soft cloth and is comfortable. When the dog pulls against the lead, the pressure is off his/her neck.

21st December 2006, 12:57 AM
Thanks a million guys. I feel better about it now. I will definitely order him a harness. As I won't be around tomorrow, my sister is taking him to the vet just to get him looked at. Paranoid about his trachea now. I'll have to stop reading all these horror stories! :shock:

21st December 2006, 01:14 AM
Just ordered George his puppia harness. They look so comfy and snug. Wouldn't mind one myself!

Cathy Moon
21st December 2006, 01:18 AM
:) Which color puppia? Tris look great in all colors!

21st December 2006, 01:22 AM
I agree with Karlin this definitely sounds like the 'cavalier snort'. It does sound like they are choking and can happen at any time, pulling on the lead, feeding, playing etc.,
I love the Puppia harnesses, they are very comfy for the dogs.
Good luck with your boy, I am sure he is fit and well.

21st December 2006, 01:29 AM
Cathy I went for the black one. Sat here trying to picture him in each colour! I reckon he'll be quite dashing in black!! 8)

Ruth I really hope that's all it is. My mind is more at ease now that I've got some very good replies. George is the first cav I have ever owned and it can be so worrying when you're not familiar with different things. I'll let you know tomorrow how it goes.

Cathy Moon
21st December 2006, 01:35 AM
Good luck tomorrow!

21st December 2006, 03:26 AM
Good Luck with the Vet. Please let us know as soon as you get a chance. Our 2 both "snort"...the first time we thought they were choking. They do it fairly often when they get too excited. But we just give them lovin' and it stops.
Love and Licks to George...
Boo & Punkin'

21st December 2006, 04:59 AM
Thanks scuffer. It's reassuring to hear that your 2 do it often. George was doing it a lot today which had me so concerned for him. Each time I just rubbed him and talked to him calmly and he stopped straight away. Is it silly of me to bring him to the vet (as it seems to be clear that's what it is)or should I still go ahead and get him checked? The vet wants to give him a good check up, checking his heart, trachea and also he wants to take blood to check for allergies.

21st December 2006, 06:48 AM
....All these symptoms have occured fairly quickly and the breathing problem seems to be happening since we changed his food. He does it after eating and tonight he done it out walking (once when he pulled on his lead and once for no reason). Could it be an allergy or someting more serious..

If it started since changing his food, might you try changing him back to the food he was on before, just to see if that makes a difference? good luck at the vet friday! I hope they can give you some reassuring information.

Barbara Nixon
21st December 2006, 12:52 PM
Look for any bald patches, which may suggest mites. When Monty had them he had bald areas on the tips of his leathers.

Cathy T
21st December 2006, 04:25 PM
Definitely sounds like the "snort" especially if he's able to stop once you calm him. I put a hand on Shelby's chest when she does it and she calms down. You can also tilt his nose down to his chest and it opens up his breathing.

The harness should help. I walk both of mine on harnesses.

I would still take him to the vet if he's hasn't seen a vet since you got him. Can't hurt to have the vet give him a good going over. Let us know what they say.

21st December 2006, 04:50 PM
Yes...I agree with Cathy. Definitely take him to the vet for a good checkup. His itchy ears could be ear mites or an allergy to the new food. My pups have had itchy ears from a yeast infection (I believe from having wet ears). So I clean their ears a couple times a week with ear wipes. I personally wouldn't go through a huge expense on allergy testing...my vet suggested taking them to the basics of food then adding other foods slowly. Best of Luck...let us know.

21st December 2006, 05:47 PM
maybe the scratching and choking/snorting are two different things.

21st December 2006, 08:25 PM
Just got back from the vet with George. He had his heart and his temp checked. Both fine. The vet said the sneezing could be an allergy as he has some discharge from his eyes. He gave him a steroid shot and some eye drops. He also said that the coughing could possibly be connected to his trachea. He gave him a course of preds and Millephline (sp?). He is to take them for a week and if there is no improvement with the cough, he'll go for an x-ray. He didn't mention "cavalier snort" and said nothing about it when I mentioned it. I'm concerned about the medication. Should I definitely go ahead with the preds? And the other tablets (apparently to help his breathing)? I don't want to give him medication if there's nothing wrong with him.

Thanks guys

22nd December 2006, 01:08 AM
Sorry for being impatient. He's due to start the tablets tomorrow for his choking/gagging. Don't know if he should take them or not. Could they damage him if it's "cavalier snort"?

Thanks again.

22nd December 2006, 01:30 AM
Can you get a second opinion? And refer to the Cavalier snort as 'reverse sneezing' if you do- maybe they'll recognise the more technical term :roll: . I'd want to check that it definitely *isn't* reverse sneezing before putting him on anything for it. It can be frightening to see, especially for a new Cav owner, but honestly, calming the dog- sometimes just picking them up does the trick!- or covering the nose and pushing it to chest DOES work.

22nd December 2006, 01:46 AM
Thanks Lisa. I've been rubbing his back and talking to him calmly and it stops straight away. I would hate to put him on tablets for coughing if he doesn't need to be. It seems to be so common but like you say, it's very alarming when you're not used to it. I think I might go to a different vet. The vet that was there today wasn't George's usual one. I just don't feel happy about it. Thanks for your input. I really appreciate it. :thnku:

Cathy T
22nd December 2006, 03:35 AM
I'd go with Lisa on this one. The cavalier snort is a very distinctive sounds. It sounds almost like a honking. If you tilt his nose down towards his chest it should stop. I wish I had a video of it. It scared the bejesus out of me the first time it happened. Here's an excerpt I found on a chihuahua board:

Occasional bouts of sneezing, snorting, honking and wheezing are not unusual in chihuahuas, and is sometimes called a "reverse sneeze". This is usually caused by a elongated soft palate that is thought to become temporarily misaligned. It is a common trait in toy breeds. Pulling hard on a leash, drinking too fast or getting overly excited can lead to an episode of reverse sneezing. Reverse sneezing SHOULD NOT be confused with a different condition called "collapsed trachea".

Although reverse sneezing may appear to be scary, it only lasts a short time and can be ended by massaging the dog's neck and throat and encouraging the dog to swallow or lick. Another way to slow the reverse sneeze is to clap your hands to distract the dog, or pinch closed the dog's nostrils with your fingers, forcing it to breathe through its mouths and to swallow.

22nd December 2006, 03:51 AM
Thanks Cathy. By the sounds of things I'm pretty sure that's what it is. I'll bring him to a different vet tomorrow. And I agree about the video. It would be great to have one because I would imagine so many people are alarmed when they first hear it.

22nd December 2006, 04:03 AM
Found a link. I'm having problems with my sound though so I don't know how good this is.


22nd December 2006, 04:04 AM
YOu know what ...??? I did a google "reverse sneeze video"


Lucky hasn't starting doing this yet thank goodness, but my sister's little Chi had a horrible little attack the other day when he was really excited and pulled too hard on his harness.

Maybe some of the people whose Cavs have experienced can let you know how the the Cavalier snort compares with this video

22nd December 2006, 04:30 AM
I also think you are describing the Cavalier Snort.

It's very scary til you get used to hearing it, then you realize that it's cureable by patting them on the throat or chest.

Mary Alice had a very bad attack after treeing a squirrel, it's just too excitiing for her!!

Charley used to do it all the time, when excited or out of breath.

I agree about the second opinion, or just call your vet back and ask if he thinks it could be just "reverse sneezing".

Good luck with your decision. ;D

22nd December 2006, 05:48 AM
zack hasn't done it. I've seen belle do it out on a walk to a point where she had to be picked up and carried. every time she walked, it would start. she was wearing a collar, it wasn't until much later that she got her puppia harness. she was excited on the walk. then she started gasping. For me, it would never be something i would get used to. It sounded like she was dying. I'd heard of reverse sneezing before and Lisa had talked to the vet about it, so i thought she's be OK, but still, i wasn't sure because she appeared to be choking and unable to breathe.

22nd December 2006, 06:06 AM
Yes it's so scary when it happens. More scary for us than them by the sounds of things!

22nd December 2006, 09:27 AM
george's mom, i sympathize with your concern about the medication. you apparently weren't inspired to trust the opinion of this vet. Can you make an appointment to see the one you usually see and ask whether the reverse sneeze has been ruled out, since it doesn't require steroids? Or might you go to a different clinic? Zack has been sick twice since i've had him and both times i consulted multiple vets, because i felt compelled to in the first case. he kept getting worse and the treatments weren't helping. (there was a different explanation in the second case.)

Since you not only described coughing but also scratching, it makes sense that the vet wanted to try steroids, but i doubt all vets would jump right into steroids with trying other things first. You might be more comfortable with a different style?

What you said about how you are feeding carrots, that sounds good to me. I usually give Zack one carrot stick a day so he can carry it around and chew on it. He doesn't always eat it all.

Barbara Nixon
22nd December 2006, 02:40 PM
The video isn't very typical of the reverse sneezes in my experinece. We have nevr had that creaking noise.

Would it be possible, to put your mind at rest, to arange to ring a forum member, during a snorting bout, so they can give their opinion ?

Cathy T
22nd December 2006, 03:31 PM
The video of the Boston is exactly what we have. I couldn't see the other video. The snork snork sound is what we get. Shelby used to do it fairly regularly. I was visiting my breeder before I brought Jake home and one of her dogs did it. She very calmly tilted his nose down and explained to me what was happening. Had that happened to me at home with Jake I would have freaked. He very rarely does it and when he does it scares him and he'll run into my lap and cower. Shelby takes it all in stride...like she does everything! I rub her neck and she's fine. Jake will run over and start sniffing her when she does it.